What do early adopters have in common?

Dale Vile

Windows Vista was launched to enterprise customers towards the end of 2006, providing many with a chance to investigate the value of upgrading. With this in mind, we look at what those intending to adopt Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system over the short to medium term have in common.


The information underpinning this document was derived from a telephone research study designed to investigate the evolution of IT Service Management (ITSM) practice, based on 200 senior enterprise IT management interviews across the USA and Western Europe.


The general attitude towards Vista adoption among medium and large organisations is that it is a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ to upgrade. That said, current indications are that it will take 3 to 4 years for Vista to become genuinely pervasive in the enterprise sector within developed markets such as the ones included in this study.

In terms of early adoption, there is a clear correlation between Vista upgrade intentions and the IT related culture and mindset that exists within an organisation. In particular, organisations are significantly more likely to be upgrading in the short to medium term if any of the following apply:

  • A service oriented approach to IT service delivery exists
  • Overall performance of the IT function is monitored formally
  • The IT function is considered to be well tuned into the business
  • There is a clear focus on the quality and efficiency of IT delivery


At the highest level, organisations with a service oriented mindset in relation to IT tend to care about two things – delivering maximum value to the business from IT investments and activities, and delivering that value in the most reliable, secure and efficient manner. Solutions that serve both of these needs are particularly appealing, i.e. those that allow incremental value to be delivered safely and cost effectively. Conversely, solutions that serve neither need (e.g. fad and fashion driven vendor offerings), or those that promise to deliver more value but in a disruptive, risky or costly manner, tend to be shied away from.

Against this background, the strong correlation between Windows Vista adoption intentions and the service centric approach to IT delivery suggests that forward thinkers perceive there to be tangible substance and safety behind the Vista proposition. While we cannot tell from this research if they have made the link between Vista adoption and the furthering of their business alignment and ITSM optimisation agendas at a conscious level, it is safe to say that Vista appears to be in tune with their priorities in general, otherwise the correlations we have seen wouldn’t be so apparent.

At an overall market level, however, it still looks as if the majority will be taking their time to migrate. The question is now whether a continued shift to services orientation will accelerate the process.



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